The Crossroads League went 4-2 Friday in NAIA Division II National Championship tournament action. The two to fall were the Bethel College men’s basketball team, 100-93 to Briar Cliff (Iowa), and the Indiana Wesleyan University women’s basketball team in a heartbreaking 86-84 loss to Olivet Nazarene (Ill.).
Continuing on in the tournament were the Goshen College and Marian University women, and the St. Francis and Indiana Wesleyan men.
Bethel bowed out of the tourney to top-seed Briar Cliff, which stacked up an 80-59 lead in the second half before holding off the late-charging Pilots. Shane Graves led BCU with 19 points and five assists. Pilots’ All-American guard Clay Yeo led all players with 24 points and nine rebounds and Gage Ott went 8-for-9 from the field en route to a 16-point night. Caleb Oetjen (15), Travis Smith (14) and Jordyn Coon (10) were also in double figures for Bethel. The Pilots held a commanding 40-26 edge on the glass but end the season with a 24-10 record.
Briar Cliff (32-3) will play IU East (21-13) Saturday.
The IWU women saw their season come to an end with no time on the clock. An offensive rebound by Jess Learned and pair of free throws with no time on the clock gave Olivet the win. IWU had tied the game at 84 on a Kelsey Key three-pointer. Abbey Hengesbach buried IWU with 39 points, Erika Isham paced the Wildcats (27-7) with 33 points.
Goshen stayed alive in the women’s tournament with an 84-66 win against St. Xavier. Jo’Mani Thomas led the Leafs with 19 points and Tyra Carver was right behind with 18 points. Liz Tecca added in 13 points and 10 boards for Goshen (26-8), which will meet Dakota Wesleyan (27-8) Saturday at 1 p.m.
Marian University also kept its tournament dreams in tact with a 72-66 win over Oregon Tech. Lakan Hasser-Smith again led Marian (29-6) in scoring with 19 points. The top seed in the bracket awaits Marian at 3 p.m. Saturday when Morningside (Iowa) comes calling.
St. Francis kept its beat going with an 89-82 win against Mount Mercy. The Cougars jumped out to a 15-5 lead in the first half and never let up. Five USF players reached double digits, led by Kegan Comer and Evan Henry at 18 points apiece. St. Francis (31-4) will take on Keiser (Fla.) (30-4) at 1 p.m. Saturday.
Indiana Wesleyan punched its ticket to the quarterfinals with an 83-79 win against Northwest Christian (Ore.). Jonny Marlin scored five points in the closing moments to move the Wildcats on in the tourney. Marlin led IWU with 26 points, with Bob Peters adding in 17 points. Wesleyan (30-5) will get either York or Dakota Wesleyan, playing the late game Friday night.